US August game-industry haul nearly $1B

NPD reports combined hardware, software, and accessories sales hit $993 million last month, spurred by Madden, BioShock, Metroid 3, and the Wii; 360 sales skyrocket post-discount.

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Today the NPD Group, North America's primary source of game-retail statistics, released its sales figures for August. As has increasingly become the trend, the numbers beat analysts' expectations.

The month saw $993 million of US retail revenue from non-PC game software, hardware, and accessories, up $67.5 million from July's $925.5 million haul. The figure also marked a massive 46 percent year-on-year increase from August 2006's $679 million, which suggests that having all three next-generation consoles in play is helping the industry to grow.

On the $302 million console hardware front, August saw Microsoft drop the price of the Core, Elite, and Pro Xbox 360s by a respective $20, $30, and $50. As a result, sales of the now- $279, $449, and $349 consoles shot up by 100,000 units, going from a combined 170,000 units in July to nearly 277,000 during August.

"The price cut was a big help, as was Madden 08 and BioShock," NPD analyst Anita Frazier told GameSpot. "Taking the price cut prior to Halo 3 set the Xbox 360 up nicely to have a very strong holiday season." NPD now estimates that from the 2005 launch to the end of last month, 6.3 million Xbox 360s have been sold in the US.

By comparison, the retail boost from the 60GB PlayStation 3's price cut appears to be slowing somewhat. After jumping from 98,500 in June to 159,000 in July, sales of the console fell to approximately 130,600. Since the console's launch in November 2006, an estimated 1.75 million PS3s have sold in the US, according to NPD estimates. Its predecessor, the PlayStation 2, has sold 39.1 million units in seven years at American retail, with 202,000 units being picked up last month.

For the second month in a row, the Wii was the best-selling non-PC gaming platform of any kind. That said, the console's 403,600-unit tally was down from a July high of 425,000 units, which is a surprising decline, given the release of the Wii-exclusive Metroid Prime 3: Corruption during the month.

Frazier believes the downturn was not due to lack of interest in the Wii. "Demand is still meeting or exceeding supply," she told GameSpot. As for the ongoing shortage of the console, Frazier thinks that "We'll see this situation continue through the holidays, and we may see some balancing starting February 2008."

When it came to August's $83 million in portable hardware sales, the story remained much the same, with the Nintendo DS's 383,300 units dwarfing the PlayStation Portable's 151,200 units. (Lifetime-to-date, the handhelds have respectively sold 12.7 million and 8.3 million in the US, according to NPD.) Of note is that, for the first time, NPD has stopped reporting monthly sales figures for the Game Boy Advance. First launched in 2001, the handheld was redesigned twice over its lifetime, and has sold nearly 82 million units worldwide to date.

August's $488 million in software sales was thanks in large part to Electronic Arts' Madden franchise. The Xbox 360 version of Madden NFL 08 was the month's top title, followed by the PS2 edition in second place and the PS3 edition in fourth. The original Xbox Madden 08 finished in 11th place, followed by the Wii edition in 12th and the PSP version in 18th.

Given that Take-Two Interactive announced it has shipped over 1.5 million units of BioShock, it should come as no surprise that the 360 version finished third on August's console chart. Contrary to some reports in the European press, the critically lauded retro-sci-fi-shooter handily outsold the month's other major non-NFL release, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, at 490,900 units to 218,100 units.

NPD AUGUST 2007 US HARDWARE FIGURES (All figures approximate)
Wii: 403,600 (4 million LTD)
DS: 383,300 (12.7 million LTD)
Xbox 360: 276,700 (6.3 million LTD)
PlayStation 2: 202,000 (39.1 million LTD)
PlayStation Portable: 151,200 (8.3 million LTD)
PlayStation 3: 130,600 (1.75 million LTD)

NPD AUGUST 2007 US SOFTWARE FIGURES
1) Madden NFL 08 / 360 / Electronic Arts / Aug-07 / (E) / 896,600
2) Madden NFL 08 / PS2 / Electronic Arts / Aug-07 / (E) / 643,000
3) BioShock / 360 / 2K Games / Aug-07 / (M) / 490,900
4) Madden NFL 08 / PS3 / Electronic Arts / Aug-07 / (E) / 336,200
5) Wii Play (with remote) / Wii / Nintendo / Feb-07 / (E) / 256,800
6) Metroid Prime 3: Corruption / Wii / Nintendo / Aug-07 / (T) / 218,100
7) Mario Strikers: Charged / Wii / Nintendo / Jul-07 / 10+ (E10+) / 147,400
8) Guitar Hero II (with guitar) / PS2 / Activision / Nov-06 / (T) / 145,400
9) Mario Party 8 / Wii / Nintendo / May-07 / (E) / 138,300
10) Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks The 80s / PS2 / Activision / Jul-07 / (T) / 127,100
11) Madden NFL 08 / Xbox / Electronic Arts / Aug-07 / (E)*
12) Madden NFL 08 / Wii / Electronic Arts / Aug-07 / (E)*
13) Brain Age 2 / DS / Nintendo / Aug-07 / (E)*
14) Two Worlds / 360 / Southpeak Interactive / Aug-07 / (M)*
15) Pokémon Diamond / DS / Nintendo / Apr-07 / (E)*
16) High School Musical: Makin' The Cut / DS/ Disney / Aug-07 / 16) (E)*
17) Guitar Hero II (with guitar) / 360 / Activision / Mar-07 / (T)*
18) Madden NFL 08 / PSP / Electronic Arts / Aug-07 / (E)*
19) Pokémon Pearl / DS / Nintendo / Apr-07 / (E)*
20) Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 / 360 / Electronic Arts / Aug-07 / (E)*

*NOTE: Sales figures for last 10 titles not provided to public.

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